Approximately one in every ten children diagnosed with cerebral palsy were injured due to medical malpractice or negligence. If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, the law allows you to take legal action against the responsible parties.
Cerebral Palsy Lawsuits
Mistakes may have been made by the medical team during your child’s delivery that resulted in damage to your child’s brain. There may also have been mistakes that were made prenatally as well, such as failing to recognize and treat a mother who has an infection or failing to diagnose an impending delivery as high risk and recommending a C-section instead of natural birth.
If your doctor or other healthcare provider should have been aware of the risks of cerebral palsy but failed to take actions to safeguard against it, they could be held liable for your child’s resulting damages.
Defining Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy is a condition caused by a brain injury that occurs before, during, or shortly after birth, and can cripple or paralyze children from using certain muscles or muscular functions. If labor is too long, or the umbilical cord cuts off oxygen to the infant, brain damage may result as well.
The Standard of Care and Risk Factors for Expectant Mothers
Each delivery is different, but there is a specific standard of care for pregnant women that every health care provider is expected to meet. If a baby weighs significantly more or is longer than an average baby, or the mother is small in stature, a medical provider should be able to assess the baby’s and mother’s dimensions and make an accurate prediction as to whether the mother should have a natural birth or a C-section. If a doctor fails to diagnose these conditions correctly, their actions may be deemed as negligent and he or she can be sued for malpractice.
If the medical provider was responsible for a delay in delivering the infant, or improperly used forceps or vacuum extraction tools, or failed to monitor fetal or maternal distress, avoidable birth injuries can occur, as well.
There are other risk factors for cerebral palsy, including:
- Low birth weights
- Premature births
- Multiple births
- Infertility treatments
- Mothers with intellectual impairments such as Down’s Syndrome
- Mothers who have had syphilis, toxoplasmosis, German measles or chickenpox
- Mothers exposed to toxic substances
Oxygen Deprivation and Cerebral Palsy
If the doctor thinks that a baby was deprived of oxygen for a dangerously long time, he can order that the child be placed in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber. The chamber is filled with 100-percent oxygen and may slow trauma in the brain caused by a lack of oxygen. If the chamber was available but the doctor failed to use it, the doctor may be charged with malpractice or negligence. Oxygen deprivation can also be caused by placental detachment or uterine ruptures.
How a Birth Injury Lawyer Can Help
It may not be possible for you to determine on your own if your child’s cerebral palsy was caused by your doctor’s negligence. Expert witnesses in cases involving birth injuries can determine if the responsibility for the cerebral palsy belongs to the doctor or a member of the healthcare team. Doctors who are expert witnesses know what the standard of accepted medical care is for mothers and babies before, during, and after delivery. Your birth injury lawyer can contact the appropriate expert witnesses to help strengthen your claim.
Recoverable Compensation in a Cerebral Palsy Birth Injury Case
Compensation in a birth injury case involving cerebral palsy should be based on the lifetime needs of your child. Your child may need specific medications, treatment, physical therapy, and assistive aids during certain stages of their lives, and you may need compensation for time off from work to care for your child or to modify your home to meet the needs of a child with cerebral palsy throughout their childhood, adolescence, and possibly adulthood.
Other costs may include occupational therapy, special education costs, and emotional pain and suffering.
Get Started Right Away
The statute of limitations for a lawsuit involving cerebral palsy is different in every state, and it takes time to develop a strong case that supports your claim for compensation. The Birth Injury Lawyers Group can connect you with a birth injury lawyer in your state who can help you determine if medical negligence played a role in your child’s injury. Call 1-800-222-9529 today to get started with a free consultation.